Semana Santa is the holy week starting on Saturday before Palm Sunday up and until Tuesday after Easter. During that long week Larantuka changes into the place to be for devoted catholics both local and international. On Wednesday busloads of pelgrims start to come to Larantuka from allover the island. Planes are fully booked and every single bed in hotels and homestays is occupied. Booking have been made already months ago. Families in Larantuka are supposed to give shelter to relatives.


In April 2020 I had the chance to celebrate semana santa however Mrs. Covid didn’t allow that. The bishop canceled the celebration, again in 2021 and again in 2022. But early 2023 there was the good news that Semana Santa was back on stage again.

I arrived in Larantuka on April 2 together with a friend/guide from Bajawa. 

The program is extended with the highlights on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We need to register both online or in person at the cathedral.

On Thursday an Friday statues of Maria are taken from the chapels to the churches and cathedral in processions of thousands of people carrying candles, palm leaves and rosaries. On Thursday night pilgrims queue up for the chapels for hours. The absolute peak is on Friday night when everyone gathers at the cathedral for the Good Friday procession. The first group leave around 19:30 and the last one around 23:00 pm. Everyone is silent. The first pilgrims arrive around 23:30, after a 4 hour slow walk pround town. The procession stops now and then for prayers and some people need to sit down on the asphalt and rest, totally exhauted. Children have fallen asleep in the arms of their parents and the asphalt is littered with candle wax

At almost 1 am we are back at the homestay. The last groups will probably arrive around 3 am…..

To follow the entire program is not possible but people must be exhausted after Easter, queuing up for hours in the the heat and high humidity of one of the warmest places of Flores, Larantuka.

I was impressed, 16:000 people joined in the procession, most of them roman chatholic but also other religions.

The 11 days program of Semana Sant in Larantuka


Anne Mieke  -AM PHOTONESIA©-